ESOMAR Guideline on Social Media Research

You are here

This document aims to provide guidance for the use of social media in market, social and opinion research. It builds upon previously issued guidelines concerning Online Research and Passive Data Collection and supports ESOMAR’s mission to ensure effective self-regulation to foster public confidence. It aims to provide social media researchers with an awareness of the issues and guidance on how they can best apply the Code’s fundamental principles of respect for consumers, trust, transparency and professionalism. This guideline also supports ESOMAR’s previous position to maintain a clear distinction between market, social and opinion research and marketing and PR activities. Recognising that online research generally, and social media specifically, is continually evolving, this guideline conveys ethical and professional principles rather than being prescriptive about methodology.

This guide will be a convenient reference for researchers to observe, interact and gather information. Many techniques have already been developed to leverage social media such as community panels, crowd-sourcing, co-creation, netnography, blog mining and web scraping. Moreover it is likely that many more will evolve over the coming years as the internet continues to change.


July 2011